Thursday, April 7, 2011

Work Your Weakness

Yes, this is another boring CrossFit post.

Other than CrossFit these days, my life consists of the following:

Dinner with the family
Catch up on Stewart and Colbert on the DVR

So, if I feel compelled to tell the whole world about my life, CrossFit seems to be the least boring thing to write about.

Otherwise, my post for yesterday would be as follows:

Slept in a hotel near the office to save on gas money and commute time, but didn't sleep too well. Got up at 6:00 and made it to the office by 7:00. Produced a number of data sets for our chief medical officer. Spent a couple hours doing database migrations and restores to our test environment. Documented a couple new bugs and enhancements for our software system. Contacted a data provider after giving up on an exasperating data analysis task. Left work a bit early for a medical appointment. Went to CrossFit, worked out, drove home, ate leftovers for dinner (my wife and daughter were gone for the evening), watched Stewart and Colbert from Tuesday and went to bed at 9:30.

It's my life and I'm not bored, but it's not the material for compelling memoir. My work would be boring to many people, but it's complex and challenging to me. The minutiae of building and maintaining computer systems to help doctors and patients work together to manage chronic diseases are probably not interesting to any athletes who read this blog.

And so, there's CrossFit.

One component of CrossFit is constant improvement, not just in strength or endurance, but also form in a variety of movements. And, everyone seems to have a different weakness. Sometimes our warm-up will include 10 minutes or so of working on form in an area where you are weak. And, sometimes, we have "Work your weakness" workouts, which is what we got last night:

Warm-up, including kettlebell swings
10 minutes WYW on a strength movement - do 1-5 reps every minute on the minute for ten minutes.
Repeat previous item with a different movement
Then, 12 minutes, as many reps as possible, alternating between two WYW movements that can be done quickly

I chose to start with overhead squats. I have some mobility issues that make it difficult for me to do this move correctly, so it's a definite weakness. I did 10 sets of 4 at 75 pounds - not heavy at all. But, as the sets continued, my form definitely got better. I was using a box behind me for safety (to prevent me from falling over backwards if I lost my balance with weight overhead) and also to gauge the depth of the squats. By the time I was halfway done, I was squatting to the box on every rep. The key for me really seems to be sure that my hands are far enough apart on the barbell.

Next, I did ring dips. My form there is terrible and so is my strength. I did them with a band for assistance and focused more on form than strength. After returning to push-ups for the first time in a month the previous day, my triceps were a bit sore, so I needed to limit the weight and protect my shoulder.

Then came the truly tough part of the workout. I opted for the following pairing:

10 burpees
10 Wall Balls (Start in a squat with a medicine ball, come out of the squat and push the ball high on a wall, then return to the squat position as the ball is falling, and catch it near the bottom of the squat)

CrossFit burpees just plain suck. I used to do burpees in the gym on my own, as follows:

Stand straight up. Squat down, putting your hands near your feet. Jump your feet back so you are in a push-up position. Jump your feet forward to where they were. Jump up and clap overhead.

Those are hard enough, but in CF, we add an actual push-up as well while in the push-up position - pure torture. Apparently, many people think of this one as torture or a weakness, because lots of people did burpees last night.

In 12 minutes, I did 5 rounds plus 9 additional burpees. I was spent.

As I sat on the ground, I looked around the gym, and I could tell everyone had picked a true weakness for their work. Everyone ended up flat on their back, gasping for breath. Twelve minutes had reduced us all from laughing and smiling people to prone pools of sweat

My clothes are fitting better, I'm recovering better, I'm eating better, I'm not drinking alcohol at all right now, and things are moving the right direction.

The Godfathers sang a depressing song that summarized life as "Birth, School, Work, Death". I'm having a lot of fun these days, even if that means getting excited by having burpees kick my ass.

1 comment:

Laurel said...

My philosophy has always been that as long as I have something I am passionate about, life is fun! It doesn't really matter what it is as long as it isn't bad for you...Hiking, running, cooking, crocheting, fishing or Cross all works.